Lawmakers in the state of Indiana have proposed a new bill that would offer grants to nursing faculty to help repay part of their college loans in order to help ease a shortage of nurses across the state. Registered nurses are the No. 1 job in demand across the state according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and the shortage is expected to worsen in coming years as more nurses age into retirement. The bill is intended to help increase the number of nursing faculty so that colleges can educate more nurses.

Hospitals and other healthcare providers are scrambling to fill open nursing positions, offering bonuses to new hires and creating nurse residency programs to try and attract new nurses and keep them as long as possible. Despite these efforts, there is a still a strong need for more nurse educators.

There are currently more than two dozen colleges in Indiana that offer nursing programs but many have faculty shortages. Colleges in the state turned away a combined 700 qualified applicants to undergraduate nursing programs last year due to faculty shortages and lawmakers believe that more nursing faculty is a pipeline for graduating more nurses into the industry.

The proposed bill, Senate Bill 28, is designed to attract and retain nursing faculty by offering grants of up to $5,000 a year with a lifetime maximum of $25,000 eligible to nursing faculty. To be eligible, applicants must have lived in Indiana for at least a year, be a registered nurse, and be enrolled in a graduate degree program for qualification as a nursing faculty member or an adjunct clinical faculty member already.

Most faculty positions require a master’s degree to teach undergraduates and a doctorate degree to teach graduate students. The grant would help repay large loans accumulated over several years of attending graduate school. Funding for the grant will be created by collecting 10 percent of the state’s nursing licensure fees.

To learn more about Senate Bill 28 and its proposal to help ease the nursing shortage in Indiana by offering loan repayment grants to nurse educators, visit here.

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